It’s Becoming Clearer: Eyes Can Also Be Affected by Sarcoidosis
My pulmonologist advised me to schedule appointments with several specialists after I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. These specialists included an eye doctor and a cardiologist, but I hadn’t made the eye appointment yet.
I’ll admit that I was overwhelmed by the steady stream of doctors and tests. Eager to restore some normalcy to my life, I just did not want to see any additional doctors. Then one day, everything around me was blurry. I couldn’t put off making the appointment any longer.
The problem was only in my right eye. My vision was blurry, fuzzy, and limited. I tested it for a few days after my discovery. First, I closed my right eye to gauge how well I could see out of my left eye. Then I would do the same with the other eye for comparison. Unfortunately, the results in my right eye weren’t good.
I could barely make out the license plate of the car ahead of us as I sat in the passenger seat. I was concerned, especially because I already wore corrective eyeglasses.
The pain was really what forced me to the doctor’s office. My eyeball had developed an aching, heavy, constant pain. I never realized your eyeball could hurt, let alone this badly.
The diagnosis was uveitis, an inflammation of the eye, which was a result of the sarcoidosis. I was surprised at this development, nearly a year after the sarcoidosis was diagnosed.
I found myself visiting one eye doctor after another. Finally, I landed in the office of a retina specialist. I could barely see out of my right eye at this point. I was forced to stop the reading, knitting, and beadwork that was supposed to help me through my anticipated recovery. Instead, I parked myself in front of the TV, watching reruns of sitcoms (out of my good eye) for hours on end.
The retina specialist delivered the news that I had developed uveitic glaucoma. The pressure in my right eye continued to rise, which explained the visual challenges.
Then the rigorous treatment regime began. I visited the retina specialist several times each week. The number of visits depended on how high the pressure had been at the previous appointment. This continued for approximately four months.
The second part of my treatment regime included daily use of several types of steroidal eye drops. It was a fairly complicated routine: one medication had to be administered every few hours; another medication could only be used at 12-hour intervals. In addition, two of the meds could only be used one hour before or after any other medication.
I created a chart to help keep the regimen straight. Still, I was overwhelmed. Mostly, I was upset by my curtailed activity. I couldn’t see properly, which affected even simple tasks. Suddenly, it was a challenge to read instructions and prepare food.
The pressure in my right eye did improve after months of this treatment. Somehow, I managed to survive that summer. The rocky road to dealing with sarcoidosis was becoming much clearer, too.
Yet, some interesting discoveries came out of an otherwise trying time. I was fortunate to find a caring and approachable eye specialist. I learned the importance of patience when dealing with a health crisis. Finally, I realized I could resume my creative work in a new way — altering patterns, or not using any at all — to accommodate my visual changes.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.